Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Archive for August 2018

One of the Labour forums shows a video today which purports to be Israeli soldiers cheering while a sniper shoots a Palestinian. Text accompanying the video refers to the Palestinian victim as a child. The source of the video appears to be the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

This is a report from Haaretz, 10 April 2018,

The findings of a preliminary inquiry, launched on Monday after the video surfaced, were that the sniper acted appropriately and only fired after all other actions taken by the soldiers were did not succeed in preventing the man from approaching the fence. However, the inquiry also found that the exuberant soldiers heard in the video acted improperly and will face disciplinary proceedings.

The army said that the video was made on December 22, 2017, during Friday riots along the border with the Gaza Strip.

“Many steps were taken during the riots to disperse them, including loudspeaker [announcements] and calls to stop, the use of means for dispersing demonstrations and firing in the air,” stated the inquiry’s findings. “When all these did not help, a single bullet was fired at one of the suspects in organizing and leading the incident when he was only a few meters from the fence. As a result of the fire he was hit in his leg and injured.”

The video was not shot from the sniper position and the person who filmed it was not part of the sniper team that fired the bullet, the army said.

After the full operational inquiry is completed by the entire command staff, the findings will be provided – as is customary – to the Military Advocate General for examination.

“As for the unapproved filming of an operational incident, distribution of he filmed material and the expressions heard in it, it should be noted that this is not the spirit and the level of restraint expected from IDF soldiers and it will be handled appropriately on a disciplinary level,” stated the findings.’

According to Haaretz, the video is problematic but the accompanying text about it on JCLPF is as follows:

‘Proof that Israeli soldiers target Palestinian children (and rejoice when they make a hit!) Video from Israeli newspaper.’

These are the comments from members of the group.

 

It is normal to feel rage and despair when we hear of atrocities. That is how I feel when I read about the Shoah, for example. In this case, members of the forum express outrage, but not one of them questions the accuracy of what they are told. Those who question such posts tend to be removed from the forum. I refrained from posting the report from Haaretz, to explain that the video, disturbing as it was, was not what they thought (an IDF sniper sadistically shooting a child to accompanying cheers). I assume that if I posted it I would be outing myself as what they generally call a ‘Zionist shill’ as well as less polite names. I would be ejected from the group and no longer able to report on it.

Videos and photos concerning Israel are posted every day on the forums, Al Jazeera’s The Lobby being the most popular. The result is always the same: righteous indignation combined with a sense of vindication that their Jew hatred has been right all along. There is also great anger about the so-called antisemitism smears. What do the Jews expect? After all, nobody likes an infanticide.

I continue to document the material on the one Labour forum from which I have not been ejected.

Sometimes I think of Oscar Wilde’s wallpaper in the Paris hotel bedroom and his last words in his last room before heaven.

‘This wallpaper is dreadful, one of us will have to go.’

This is how I feel about the phenomenon of Corbynist antisemitism. One of us will have to go. Let us hope that it’s them – may they go, peacefully from the UK Labour party, and may we still still be here, in ‘this other Eden’ which has been our home since 1656.

 

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As we approach August Bank holiday, I think of the death of Princess Diana, twenty-one years ago at this season. I remember the passionate grief in the United Kingdom and abroad, following the shock of her untimely death. No doubt the intensity of the public response was inspired by Diana’s superstar persona, beauty, philanthropy and transparent vulnerability. If any provocative journalist, presaging Katie Hopkins in courting opprobrium, suggested that Diana was neurotic, turbulent and not more than averagely intelligent, the response tended to be disgust and disbelief that anyone could fall so low.

No monarchist myself, I wept, read quantities of the Dianology then in print and watched all the television coverage. My daughters went up to Kensington Palace to lay flowers and my son, then fifteen, found a place to watch the passing of the funeral cortege. None of us was any kind of royal watcher. We supported Oliver Cromwell. Nevertheless, Diana was the archetype of the beautiful and good, dying young.

It all seems a very long time ago.

Last Friday, I watched the Channel 4 talk show The Last Leg, where Jeremy Corbyn was the butt of some quite edgy humour. He was represented by an actor as being naked in a tea cup but I need not explain the why and wherefore. Going by online responses, the fans were aghast, as they were in the face of Tracey Ullman’s comedy sketches lampooning Mr Corbyn, or David Baddiel’s remarks on the Frankie Boyle show.

My impression is that, for his most devoted supporters, Corbyn is Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gandalf and, despite the protestations of JK Rowling, Dumbledore. An old man with a beard should be wise, unless he compensates by coming down the chimney with presents – never a very wise choice. Corbyn is also seen as an older Jesus, if Jesus had not died at the age of thirty-three, even younger than Diana.

In common with Diana, Corbyn is a myth and a legend as much as a human being. Both are often perceived as martyrs and particularly as martyred by the press.

Corbyn is also loathed in a way Diana was not.  He is associated with Jew hatred, more now than at the time of the General Election last year. He is regarded as hypocritical yet powerful in the context of the Labour Party where his close associates display a sometimes feral potency. To be on the wrong side of the Corbynistas seems unsafe within the Labour movement, with all the talk of deselection and, more so, the very insulting and belittling language used of political opponents by those supporters who have high visibility on social media.

The Queen has seldom aroused such strong devotion and neither did Churchill in his life time. If the Queen and Churchill were regarded as uplifting symbols of Britsh life, they were not often more than incidental in the lives of the public.

Last year, during the Glastonbury Festival, Corbynmania was a word in all the newspapers. I have not heard it so much lately and it is possible that some of the Gandalfing of Corbyn has fallen away. In the last year, while his myth has been nurtured, he has not achieved very much, other than maintaining his support base and his leadership.

I, of course, have  a horse in this race. I am Jewish and I do believe that the Corbyn movement is injurious to Jewish well-being. My view is precisely the one most loathed and derided by a significant number of Mr Corbyn’s supporters.

This elderly gentleman, resembling Diana perhaps in his prodigious obstinacy and middling intelligence, has aroused love and hate among the public more than any British politician in my lifetime. Enoch Powell would be in the running, but I don’t believe he was ever as popular as Corbyn.

No wonder we loved Diana. She harmed no one except herself.

Since Dame Margaret Hodge hit the headlines, the Labour Party has continued to rage like a forest fire over the issue of antisemitism within the party and over Mr Corbyn’s role, for better for worse. There have been two twitterstorms that I know of, one with the hashtag ‘We are Corbyn’ and the more recent with the hashtag ‘Resign Tom Watson.’

As readers will know, Tom Watson has condemned Labour antisemitism. Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are sticking to their narrative that Tom Watson is dishonest and  acting on behalf of those who want to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of 10 Downing Street. Online Labour Forums are running stories about Mr Watson being in the pay of Zionist Jews and I believe one Labour official has been suspended for saying as much.

A journalist from Jewish News has been interviewed by the Canary and expressed disgust with the United We Stand front pages shared by three Jewish newspapers. An argument as to whether the journalist is actually Jewish is still raging as I type this, although the journalist in question seems to think he is not.

A young man parried a tweet from the intrepid journalist Dan Hodges by claiming to be a Corbyn fan and a member of the Board of Deputies, to show that you can be both. The information that has reached me so far is that he’s the first thing but not the second so the conjunct, theoretically possible, doesn’t stand in this case.

I sometimes wonder, could we see off this recent (say half a century)  burst of antisemitism at home and abroad if there were not Jewish people batting against us: Jewish Voice for Labour, Free Speech on Israel, the Max Blumenthals, the wrong type of Finkelstein (Norman) and the brocialists called Shlomo of whom there may be two or three.

The material on Labour forums is really not amusing. The flow of unreconstructed antisemitism is relentless, often prompted by posts from the group administrators if they think the topic of the Satan Katan* has been kicked into the long grass. I have taken to searching on the key word Zimbabwe, to see if the forum members have anything to say about current developments there, but there is nothing.

I’ve posted much of what I see on the Labour forums on my Twitter timeline. It is not possible to log in – which I do several times a day – without seeing extremely negative posts relating to Israel, Jews or, most prolifically in recent weeks, the so-called ‘smears’ about Labour antisemitism.  There is often a smiling or winking emoji accompanying the words ‘Am I being antisemitic?’

They prize above all an encouraging word from a Jewish person,  saying ‘No you’re not being antisemitic. It’s a lie told by…’ Zionists? Conservatives? The Deputy Labour leader? The PLP?

It does seem clear to me, in this fog of war, that being or not being Jewish is not any kind of deciding factor in fighting antisemitism or coddling it. The friends, the journalists, the politicians who stand with us and pay the price for showing solidarity are not all Jewish. Most of them are not. It would be grim with no more than  a quarter of a million of us in the UK if no one else had our backs.

So where this is leading is that I would like to thank all those who do have our backs, khasidei umot ha’olam חֲסִידֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם , the righteous among the nations. Like all the peoples of the world, we can’t do it all alone. Nobody can.

  • Little Satan

6 August 2018

 

 

 


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